Learning Outcomes

English 110

English 110 is a discussion-based  introduction to the discipline that acts both as a gateway for the major and a service course for non-majors, wherein lies the challenge of teaching it. While preparing  many students  to become  English majors and minors, English 110 also serves perhaps an equal number  for whom it will be their only course  in the Department. The  English Department has adopted  the following five learning outcomes and agreed that all sections of English 110 should  be designed  to fulfill the following goals.

Students who successfully complete English 110 will:

  1. Master basic terms of literary study
  2. Utilize close reading as a primary skill of literary analysis
  3. Encounter other interpretive  methods that build upon  the principle of close reading
  4. Recognize the conventions of different genres
  5. Develop interpretive arguments both in writing and discussion
  6. Understand the significance of historically underrepresented perspectives and traditions

All instructors  should include these learning outcomes  on their syllabi and should do the following to help aim toward completion of these outcomes. In order…

  • To master basic terms of literary study
    Use The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms as a standard reference work. Adopt short list of key terms that all students will learn.
  • To utilize close reading as a primary skill of literary analysis
    Assign the first extended  essay as an exercise in close reading, which we define (following The Bedford} as “nuanced and thorough  analysis of a literary text… as a means of interpreting and illuminating its complexities.”
  • To encounter other interpretive methods that build upon the principle of close reading.
    Use The Bedford to reinforce comprehension of these methods. All sections should include a final exam that tests close reading skills and knowledge of literary terms.
  • To recognize the conventions of different genres.
    Include a representative selection of fiction, poetry, and drama.
  • To develop interpretive arguments both in writing and discussion
    Assign no fewer than three substantial graded writing assignments, one of which is at least 5 pages. Include a variety of other assignments that emphasize writing and close reading.
  • To understand the significance of historically underrepresented perspectives and traditions
    Ensure  that the syllabus integrates  texts from diverse traditions.

200-level Studies Courses in English

Students who successfully complete  200-level Studies Courses in English will:

  1. Describe literature in its historical contexts
  2. Differentiate between at least two periods of literary history
  3. Identify how literature and culture are interrelated
  4. Continue to develop and refine skills as close readers of literary texts
  5. Continue to develop interpretive arguments about literary texts

200-level Creative Writing Workshops

Students who successfully complete creative writing workshops at the 200-level will:

  1. Examine and describe choices writers make to construct meaning and express human experiences
  2. Identify the traditions, controversies,  vocabulary, and conventions  pertinent  to the craft of poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction
  3. Demonstrate in their own poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction an awareness of the relationship between form and subject matter
  4. Revise their own poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction by considering feedback
  5. Provide constructive and informed feedback on peers’ poetry, fiction, or literary’ nonfiction


In addition to English 110, FSEnglish201 is required  for all English majors. While English 200 introduces critical methodologies  to students, the FSENG201  syllabus is organized  around such methodologies, reflecting its greater responsibility for such instruction.

FSENG201 also contains a research component, which will prep;u·e sophomore majors for their upper-level work as English majors.

300-level Courses

Students who successfully complete 300-level courses in English (with the exception of 385 and 390) will:

  1. Continue  to hone their skills as close readers of literary texts
  2. Enhance  their understanding of the relationship  between text and context (liter;u·y, historical) begun in the 200-level Studies courses
  3. Refine their ability to ask relevant, independent interpretive  questions of liter;u·y texts
  4. encounter relevant examples of literary criticism and be able to summarize and respond  to the argument of select articles
  5. Complete a research project that draws on relevant literary criticism as part of its interpretive argument or, complete a final project that demonstrates comprehension of formal conventions within a genre

400-level Courses

Students who successfully complete a 400-level literature course in English will:

  1. Continue to hone their skills as close readers of literary texts.
  2. Find and evaluate relevant published criticism.
  3. Apply critical methods to a focused literary topic.
  4. Complete a substantial research project that displays a sustained sense of historical and cultural context.

The Junior Seminar

The junior seminar is required  of all English majors and may be taken by minors  to fulfill the 400- level requirement.  These seminars place an emphasis  on discussion, individual student research, and critical methodology. The  subject matter of junior seminars varies according to individual instructors.

Students who successfully complete a Junior Seminar in English will:

  1. Demonstrate their skills as close readers of literary texts.
  2. Articulate an independent critical or craft-based question informed by individual interests and scholarly research.
  3. Formulate an answer to the question that combines independent research and original textual analysis.
  4. Complete a substantive written project that develops an original analysis situated in a broader scholarly tradition of theory, craft, or historical research.

The Senior Project

Every Allegheny student completes a Senior Project: a significant piece of original research or creative work, designed by the student  under the guidance of a faculty advisor, that demonstrates the ability to complete  a major assignment, to work independently,  to analyze and synthesize information, and to write and to speak persuasively.